How a Homeopath Can Help Children’s Sleep Issues
Many children suffer from sleep issues. It’s a natural part of growing up and common during developmental phases. Kids’ sleep disturbances stem from a wide range of causes—from teething to bedwetting to nightmares. In a National Sleep Foundation poll, researchers found that two out of every three children under 10 have experienced some type of sleep problem. Homeopathy can be a gentle modality to help balance these issues.
Using the Law of Similars—the idea of “like cures like”—a repertory program helps me to cross reference symptoms with the Materia Medica, the clinical book of homeopathic provings and observations, which contains thousands of remedy choices! The remedies are prepared from plants, minerals, or animal products, and these substances would produce similar symptoms if used on a healthy person. They have been diluted, triturated (ground into a fine powder), and succussed (shaken vigorously) so many times that just the energetic imprint of that substance is left. Homeopathy is free of side effects and allergic reactions because it is energy medicine and not the crude form of that substance.
Homeopathy is safe and effective for pregnant moms, babies, and children and it’s also eco-friendly. Many prescription medicines contain compounds which remain active after they are excreted from the body. These toxins end up in rivers, streams and ultimately in our water supply. Homeopathy is created by green, sustainable methods and does not contribute to the destruction of the environment in the way that pharmaceuticals do. It is also non-habit-forming and can be used for a short period of time in acute situations such as teething, viruses, and growth spurts which can all disrupt sleep; but ultimately homeopathy can work even more deeply with constitutional treatment.
Treating the whole child, not just symptoms
Constitutional treatment is when a homeopath takes the case of a patient from their time in utero until present day. I ask many questions about the pregnancy and mom’s health, the child’s personality, behaviours, sleep patterns, eating patterns and preferences, digestion, urination and bowel movements, skin, developmental milestones, and growth. The answers to these questions help me form an individualized and holistic picture of my patient so that I can recommend a constitutional remedy match. By treating the whole child and not just a symptom, the immune system is stimulated to heal itself. The child feels better overall and a wide range of symptoms improve. When there are sleep issues, you may see secondary difficulties like fears, nightmares, and bedwetting disappear too! When only the symptoms are treated, the result can be palliative—relieving symptoms without resolving the underlying condition—and cause more disturbances. This is why you should seek out a professional, classically trained homeopath to investigate the root of the problem and do not self-prescribe.
When sleep doesn’t come easily
Sometimes the cause of sleep disturbance is external. The bedroom environment plays an important role in good sleep and imbalances can be caused by too much light, or allergens in carpets, curtains, and bedding. Mattresses and furniture can also outgas noxious fumes. Flame retardant pyjamas may contain chemicals with heavy metals which can lead to issues in the brain. Other things that can impact your child’s sleep are room temperature, noise, odours, and other sensory disturbances. Even the layout of the room may be an important part of recovery. I encourage you to check out some basic Feng Shui tips! Once the sleeping environment has improved, sleep issues may either resolve or warrant further attention.
Physical causes of sleep disturbance
If the underlying cause is physical, having a diagnosis can help us. Many treatments for these conditions can be complemented by a homeopathic remedy.
Pinworms or parasites
Parasites lay their eggs at night while the infected person sleeps. If we have this diagnosis there are very specific remedies for this issue.
Cina This is one of the top remedies for worm troubles in children. It is a remedy for round, thread, and tape worms.
Causticum This can be useful in children who wet the bed as soon as they start to fall asleep, especially for the child who does not even realize that they have done so.
Equisetum One of the best homeopathic medicines for bed wetting when it’s a habit.
There are many more suitable remedies and working with a homeopath is important to help you find the best match for your child.
Restless leg syndrome
This is common and may be caused by low levels of iron and other minerals like magnesium. This syndrome often occurs in bed at night and can be relieved with pressure or heat.
Rhus tox This can be one recommended remedy to help with restless leg syndrome. This child has a constant need to move their legs, making it very difficult to sleep. They often have pains worse on first movement, and are better with continued movement. There is a major sense of restlessness and uneasiness, worse at night. They crave cold milk. They are worse before storms and respond to heat like a heating pad or warm bath.
This can cause muscle cramping and muscle spasms known as “growing pains” which can also wake a child. The pains can be felt in both legs, especially in the front of the thighs, calf muscles, or behind the knees and are often gone by morning. You can also try to use a topical Arnica cream called T-relief cream, Epsom salt baths, and a children’s magnesium supplement may help as well. I find it very helpful to give Calcarea phosphorica 30c a couple of times before bed during these spurts.
Emotional causes of sleep disturbance
On a mental or emotional level, obsessive thoughts, anxiety, and worrying can agitate a child and keep them awake.
Coffea cruda 30c This child may start fidgeting or picking at their fingers or lips because of nervousness. This hyper state stimulates the nervous system and burns out the adrenals. This remedy is a nice match for an overactive child who mirrors this hyper-caffeinated state!
These should always be treated constitutionally by a homeopath and not with hand-picked remedies. There is often an underlying cause for the nightmares like a shock, fear, sudden startle, grief etc. A good homeopath will help you resolve the situation.
During the homeopathic session we talk about the child’s anxious feelings to bring awareness to them and to think of ways to shift these negative thoughts into a more positive bedtime. The remedies will address many of these issues and help the child come into a higher state of awareness and become unstuck. Older children are able to tell me exactly how they feel better and what issues they would like to work on next!
Through homeopathy, children can become a better version of themselves overall and can be empowered by the role they play in their own healthcare. Vitality is restored and the body, as a system, functions more smoothly. The body has the innate ability to heal itself and homeopathy is a wonderful stimulus.